Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Three Open Educational Resources (OER) Guides -- What is the difference?

You are currently viewing the Open Educational Resources (OER) Guide

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Education Resources(OER)

Terms used for content that the creators have chosen to share with an open copyright model of licensing.

OPEN ... Free. The resources can be used,  copied and shared without permission or fees, as opposed to the traditional "all rights reserved" approach to copyright ownership, where the creator sells their work and requires permission for copying and use outside of purchasing.

Credit the creator! Open doesn't mean no attribution. Attribution and agreeing to share the content forward are usually requirements for use of OER material.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Any type of educational teaching materials created with an open copyright license that allows you to do the 5 Rs.

Key Features:

  • Free to legally copy, use, revise, adapt and re-share.
    The 5 Rs: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute
  • OERs can include a variety of teaching materials including curriculum, course outlines, textbooks, teaching notes, assignments, tests and projects.
  • Not format specific -- can include digital, audio, video or animation. The native format is digital but print copies can be made.
  • Attribution and sharing the content are almost always requirements


  • True OERs are free of most copyright and licensing restrictions
  • Terms of Use statements or a Creative Commons (CC) license provide guidance on how the content can be used.
  • Creative Commons (CC) licenses ~ help creators license their content with sharing models to choose from. Note: Not all CC licenses meet the conditions of an OER.
  • Check license terms for any restrictions.

Using Images

This image was created by and is licensed using the creative commons CC BY-SA license . Use of the CC licence symbol on the image provides a visual indicator/ cue to the intent to share.

CC = Creative Commons
BY = Who is the image by ~ Give credit to the creator
SA = Share Alike ~ You agree to share the content forward.

CREDIT: Sharing Open Ideas by, CC BY-SA.

Find and USE an OER

You don't have to customize and modify OERs. Use them as is!

Use all or some of the content ...
it is up to you.
There are tools to help you evaluate OERs.